Charles County, Maryland

Property Standards Task Force Minutes of April 17, 2012

- Private group -
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4:00 PM

PGM Conference Room #2

Charles County Government Building

La Plata, Maryland


The scheduled meeting of the Property Standards Task Force convened at 4:00 PM. 

The following persons were in attendance:


Sandra Mitchell, Chair

Amanda Gibson, Attorney Staff Support     

Edward Holland, Vice Chair 

Frank Ward, PGM Staff Support

Bud Humbert

Theresa Green, Staff Support/Clerk

Steven Lowe

Cloyce Spinks

Mark Williams


Approval of Minutes of February 21, 2012

A motion was made by Mr. Humbert, seconded by Mr. Lowe, and passed, with the provision that a spelling error on page two be corrected, with all present voting in favor to approve the minutes of February 21, 2012.


Review Report Presented to the Commissioners

On March 13, 2012, Mr. Ward gave a power point presentation of the Property Standards Task Force’s Report to the Commissioners. The Commissioners commended the Task Force for their work. The Commissioners requested the Task Force prioritize the recommendations.


Task Force Recommendations Prioritized

The Task Force recommends the adoption of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). This code is primarily used in the U.S., but is also used by Canada, and it has been used as a model in other countries. The Task Force is working to update this code.

 Mr. Ward has received information from the Sheriff’s Office regarding foreclosure properties. He will contact them regarding the next steps in coordinating these properties.

 The members worked through the list of nine recommendations and have prioritized the list as follows: (#’s in parenthesis are as numbered in the ‘PSTF Status Report to the County Commissioners’).


1. (#5) Adopt the International Property Maintenance Code.


2. (#3) Establish “Clean and Lien” provisions in all property standard regulations of the County, particularly the Building Code and Zoning Ordinance.


3. (#’s 1, 2 & 9)

(#1) Amend the Nuisance laws to enable easier complaint submissions and eliminate conflicting

(#2) The three acre parcel size restriction in the Nuisance Ordinance should be reviewed and modified.

(#9) Livability Code complaints and enforcement should be moved from the Department of Community Services to the Department of Planning & Growth Management.


4. (#7) Establish communication between PGM and the Sheriff’s office for notification of foreclosed properties.


5. (#4) Create requirements for County review of Homeowner Association documents during the Development Review process to address property maintenance, reserve funds for community facilities and dues issues.


6. (#6) Create a Homeowner’s Guide for Property Maintenance.

 House Bill 1161- assessment for abatement of zoning violations, ‘Clean and Lien’ passed.

House Bill 1243 – giving HOA’s the ability to enforce their covenants in District Court did not pass.

House Bill 1206 – (proposed by Delegate Wilson) – giving community associations the ability to seek judicial abatement of nuisances in the Circuit Court did not pass.


The County Attorney’s Office will bring a presentation to the Commissioners regarding their review of HOA governing documents, when their agenda allows.

By Fall, the Property Maintenance Code should be adopted, the Clean and Lien and the Zoning Ordinance should be completed. We should have discussed with and requested confirmation from the County Attorney’s Office regarding changes to the Building Code, we will have met with the Nuisance Board to get their feedback on our recommendations and any suggestions they may have to make implementation and filing the nuisance complaints a smooth process.  

Clean and Lien has been budgeted $20,000 for the next fiscal year.

Mr. Holland made a motion to accept the priority list as stated, seconded by Mr. Spinks and passed with all present voting in favor.


Questionnaire Update

Mr. Ward contacted Maredith Management and asked if they would fill out the questionnaires for the HOA’s they represent. They declined. 

The County needs to establish a database of Homeowner’s Associations within the County. Mr. Humbert recommends getting the needed information from title companies or realtors. Mr. Lowe suggested the County require developers provide the HOA information to the County before releasing the bond.  The HOA’s would then be required to inform the County of the change of officers and their address and phone as they occur.

The General Assembly passed a requirement that Charles County has to create a stormwater utility tax, which may help with the stormwater maintenance ponds being maintained.  If a stormwater maintenance pond is on a homeowner’s property, it is to be maintained by the homeowner. If the pond is on HOA property, it is the HOA’s responsibility.


Next Steps

1.  The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 17.

 Mr. Humbert made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Spinks. The motion passed with all present voting in favor.  The meeting adjourned at 4:37 PM.